Th Grand Theft
This series grows out of a constant conversation within my process around appropriation. I frequently use bits and pieces of other artworks, objects and images combined with imagery I develop and shoot in the studio. Stitching and blending are embedded into every drawing, meaning each image is a kind of mash up of the found and the invented. I mull this part of my practice because I am regularly shifting my own ethical boundaries of what is right, fair and good. It’s a process that is in one sense deeply normal and necessary as a creative maker and thinker. We all do it and this is how new ideas are crafted. But it also reminds me of modes of cultural appropriation and outright theft as powerful individuals, communities and nations have struck out into the world and taken what is not theirs. For the Grand Theft, I decided to question this practice of sampling, make fun of it and consider it’s larger impact historically. First, I needed some flawed main characters to start the story. My fictitious duo are hell-bent on taking from the world for their own benefit. They are meant to be oblivious to consequences, two white men tromping the planet and gobbling up what they want. Dressed in a mixture of prison black and whites and a 20th century abstract painting, we find them in the midst of their hijinks, bumbling through burglaries of paintings, hijacking blimps, sneaking away with rare flowers or using a portal in the floor to drag objects from east to west. They do not care, yet struggle to achieve their goals. They are hard-working, but devoid of questions as to the impact of their choices. I mean, as always, to question my own choices, my own role as a user and appropriator, my own privileged complicity and my own sense that we need to do better. I also mean to remind that in examining our flaws we must remember to laugh.